Stores inside the former Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago are phasing out the old name drops for new products featuring Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.

June 20, 2024

When the over 90-year-old Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago officially changed its name to Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry in May to honor the donor’s $125 million contribution, merchandising the famous Chicago venue with new name-dropped products and phasing out the old name were important tasks.

“We went from about 100 different SKUs that featured the old name and scaled it back to about 12 right now with Griffin Museum of Science and Industry,” says Joseph Straub, retail manager for Event Network who oversees all the museum’s stores, which includes two everyday stores, the newly remodeled Launch Pad store inside the Henry Crown Space Center, and popup shops tied to changing exhibits, like James Bond.

“We are currently selling the old product through the summer,” Straub says. “This museum means a lot to a lot of people, especially Chicago natives, so we are giving them that last chance to get that vintage name and logo. We will keep that product on the floor until it sells out.”

The new merchandise, which features the new name and a slightly updated logo, was introduced into the product mix in May.

Apparel, totes, baseball hats, mugs and magnets are among the new merchandise that features the new Griffin Museum of Science and Industry name and logo.
While Straub says the guests are excited about the name change, it might take a while for the new name to catch on with Chicagoans. Straub references other popular Chicago landmarks that have gone through name changes, including the Sears Tower being renamed to Willis Tower and Lake Shore Drive’s updated name to DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

“I’ve seen social media comments about how nothing changes in Chicago because we all call it the old thing. It will be interesting to see how Griffin catches on or not,” says Straub.

The new merchandise introductions should help with the transition. The SKUs with the new name and logo include five apparel items, three of which are from Champion. Canvas totes, baseball hats, mugs and magnets are also in the lineup, which Straub describes as “your gift shop essentials.”

“That’s the product assortment for now, but we are definitely looking to expand come late summer and early fall as we get ready for the holiday season,” he says.

Another big development for the museum was the remodeled Henry Crown Space Center, which was unveiled in June, and included a newly remodeled store and features merchandise from retro to cutting-edge, according to Event Network. The new space center features the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft, a flight-proven vehicle that played a pivotal role in two missions, CRS-12 (2017) and CRS-17 (2019), delivering cargo and scientific experiments to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft's new exhibition highlights its journey and SpaceX's pioneering legacy.

In addition to the Space Center's most iconic artifacts, such as the Apollo 8 Command Module and the Mercury Aurora 7 Capsule, the exhibit features new artifacts, such as a prototype garment and biofeedback belt worn by Mae Jemison, the first American woman of color in space and a Chicago native.